What WAPI Does

WAPI was created in 2000 as a Trade Association, to represent the Investigation Sector who for various reasons, were not members of one of the only two existing Associations at that time. The newly proposed Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) was shortly to become law, and Government had invited the Sector to provide input data as to the effect, cost and likely issues in the planned regulation of the Private Investigator Sector.

The new WAPI Founding Members, soon to become the initial Governing Council sprang into action, and opened immediate negotiations with the other Associations, and eGroups, out of which a joint committee was established, called the Way Forward Group (WFG), this sector group started a series of meetings with the Home Office researching the “impact” of regulation upon the sector. Once the Act became law in 2001, the Home Office set up an Implementation Team, and later the Security Industry Authority (SIA). WAPI along with the other Associations continued to attend endless meetings and discussion groups, with a massively increased UK-wide mandate of both the fast growing membership plus almost 1500 eGroup members.

The major areas were targeted upon the competence and/or qualifications that were to be required for an applicant to be granted a SIA License.

To achieve these objectives, WAPI participated in the creation and later updating of the applicable National Occupational Standards (NOS), a set of criteria by which various examination authorities could measure a candidate’s competence is those subjects deemed as essential to earn the qualification.

WAPI also attended meetings with the Information Commissioner expressing concerns and extracting advise in the areas of data protection, legal access to some data, and some clarification as to the use of “pretext” as an investigatory tool.

As the years passed, and the realization that the Security Industry Authority were in no rush to regulate the Investigation Sector, WAPI continued to attend meetings with the SIA, and various Industry Bodies all trying to kick-start the licensing process. Not all were supportive of being regulated, and WAPI continued to voice those concerns, and contribute to the criteria that was to be set for a license.

WAPI generated and circulated a proposal to base competence on a combination of proven experience and recognized qualifications, using a simple points system, the level at which competence was to be determined, could be changed upwards as the regulation settled in.

Then along came the devastating media negative reporting on hacking, phone-tapping, bugging and data protection breaches. Which led to the 2011 Leveson Inquiry into the Press (and its use of PI’s) WAPI attended, and presented a very firm and positive synopsis based upon input from our membership.

In 2015 WAPI represented the membership as a witness at the Government Home Affairs Select Committee enquiry into Private Investigators.

WAPI organized a series of Seminars, some in conjunction with other Associations, and invited keynote speakers, to explain the changes in law and other areas of interest, opening the floor to Q&A enabling even the One Man PI to directly communicate with the Authority Representatives.



  • WAPI and the elected Governing Council members “represent” each member in all and any areas that would, or could be of concern to practitioners as a result of changes in law, regulation, policies and methodologies. A one-man or small company generally do not have the time of resources to voice their opinions, or concerns, whereas as a member of WAPI those members can exercise their views through WAPI and a mandated Representative Trade Body.
  • WAPI represents each member in dealing with Government Policies and Regulation concerns.
  • WAPI acts as the Trade Union of the membership.
  • WAPI provides a competent representative to attend official inquiries.
  • WAPI provides a conduit to deal with press/ media – ensuring we all sing from the same song-sheet.
  • WAPI questions any and all legislation which would or could impact our sector.
  • WAPI participates in the creation and modification of the Standards of Competence applied across the entire sector.
  • WAPI disseminates Law and Media updates to members.
  • WAPI published PI news in the popular “NEWS – without comment” postings.
  • WAPI provides a forum to enable UK and Irish members to seek and offer localized or specialized services to other members in, the UK, Ireland and world-wide.
  • WAPI can arbitrate on the rare occasions that disputes between members or their clients arise.
  • WAPI enforce a strict ethical code, a breach of which forms the basis of the complaints procedure.

So, who does WAPI meet with on behalf of our UK and Irish Members?

Since 1999 WAPI GC Members have participated as a Representative of the Membership, the following:

  • Joint Association meetings & forums – The Way Forward Group, The Investigator Sector Group
  • UK Government – Home Office Implementation Team
  • Security Industry Authority – Meetings and Forums
  • Information Commissioner’s Office – Data Protection concerns
  • Leveson Inquiry – Sector Representative Witness Evidence
  • Home Affairs Committee – Select Committee enquiry into Private Investigators – Witness Evidence
  • National Occupational Standards (NOS) – Creation & Updating of UK Investigator Sector standards of performance that we are expected to achieve in day to day work, plus the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively. The NOS are approved by the UK government regulators.
  • EU Parliament – Representing the UK on discussion on EU=wide Licensing of Investigators
  • Financial Conduct Authority – raising concerns of over-regulation of UK Process Servers
  • Universities – Meetings to discuss and evolve Degree Criteria
  • Training Bodies – the set Qualification Standards and Objectives
  • Banking Authorities – to resolve Credit Card Establishment Issues

Advertising Standards Authority – to re-negotiate Radio/TV advertising by the Sector

Get Qualified – Through ISS Training Limited 

ISS is the preferred training provider for WAPI – Learn more regarding the course and contact details.

Introduction from the Chairman

10th June 2024
WAPI – in conjunction with the Institute of Professional Investigators ( IPI) and the United Kingdom Private Investigators Network (UKPIN), launch the Confederation of Professional Investigators UK. (COPI) http://www.copiuk.org.uk This is a move to establish a collective voice from established Associations, already known for best business practices, following an agreed Code of Ethics protecting commercial Clients, the general public, and Investigators alike.
10th June 2024

Users of Professional Investigative Services including members of the public, legal profession, business and corporate clients, are able to select a credible Professional Investigator who is recognized as a “professional” and as such is a member of an established and approved professional association such as The World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI).

Further Reading;

Update from Chairman July 2023

Tony Smith, Chairman